Sunrise over Shonan is an excellent novel with some well thought out and deep characters. As someone who has spent a lot of time living abroad I felt that I could really identify with the main character and his problems. The story flows naturally and events are believable. There are also a few touching moments that really stand out in the book.
On the negative side I found it hard to keep up with a few of the place names and stations and it reminded me of talking to people who live in London and assume that everyone know lives outside of London is familiar with all the tube stations. Maybe it’s the same in all big cities. But this is just a minor point. And despite the problem with places, you do end up getting a good feel for the main locations in the story.
For me the strength of the book is it’s light melancholic feel that the author keeps up throughout the book and it’s in depth characters that stand out as real people living real lives.
I wouldn’t recommend it for the action orient as it’s more of a drift than story, But for people who like life snap shots (think early John Irving or E. Annie Proulx) it would be great. I’d also highly recommend it for people who are not sure what they are doing with their lives and, oddly enough, for people who like dogs.